It has become traditional to announce the Lecturer of the Year during the opening of the academic year at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies (GGW). And so on Wednesday 2 September, the student committee of the Faculty of GGW announced that this year, the students had chosen Dr Julia Martínez-Ariño, assistant professor of Sociology of Religion, as their favourite lecturer.
COVID-19 and the extra work that this has generated for lecturers in a short space of time made the task of singling out one lecturer for this accolade trickier than ever, said the jury. This year, the election was held in two rounds. In the first round, students were asked to vote for their favourite lecturer online. Four lecturers stood out: Julia Martínez-Ariño, Brenda Mathijssen, Stefania Travagnin and Susanne Luther. In the second round, the four nominees were interviewed by the 2020 Lecturer of the Year committee, consisting of Job Raedts, Annelien Westhuis and Ben van de Wetering, and the student assessor for the Faculty Board, Marieke Landman. The committee assessed the nominees on various aspects of their performance, including their lectures, teaching visions and course manuals. Julia Martínez-Ariño was finally chosen as the Faculty of GGW Lecturer of the Year for 2020.
In summary, the committee concluded that Martínez-Ariño is an outstanding lecturer, who is in close contact with her students and who sees ‘learning from each other’ as her main teaching goal. Julia was appointed as an assistant professor of Sociology of Religion at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen in 2017.
She teaches course units for both the Bachelor’s and the Master’s programmes and also has the difficult task of teaching students research methods, such as in the Concepts and Methods 2: Researching Religion and Social Scientific Research Methods course units. The jury concluded that although these course units are generally considered to be difficult and not particularly interesting, Julia Martínez-Ariño manages to organize her teaching in a way that inspires and excites students and makes them look forward to her lectures. Her course manuals provide a very clear structure, making it easier to get to grips with complex material.
Martínez-Ariño is a dynamic lecturer, illustrating her lectures with countless examples from her own research and encouraging students to think about methods. In her lectures, Julia treats the students as budding researchers. She works alongside them rather than taking a top-down approach. In this way, students and lecturer help and enrich each other. Another example of the dynamic interaction between lecturer and students can be seen in the extra writing hours that Martínez-Ariño plans in order to co-write with her students. These moments serve as an extra incentive for students to work on their research and ensure that their work is taken seriously by lecturers.
As well as being considered an outstanding lecturer, students also appreciate Julia Martínez-Ariño’s commitment. She is always happy to help them and plan extra hours to provide additional support when writing and supervising papers. Her open attitude and commitment to her students mean that students find her easy to approach. Martínez-Ariño is always keen to learn more that will benefit her own teaching. She is receptive to feedback and always takes plenty of time to listen to input from her students. This results in a progressive style of teaching, which has proved to be highly effective for our students, according to the jury report. In addition, Julia is praised for the exceptional way in which she continued her lectures online within just one day, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Students enjoyed her online lectures very much.
Julia Martínez-Ariño is the winner of the GGW Lecturer of the Year election for 2020, and the fourteenth Lecturer of the Year at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. Congratulations, Julia, and thank you!
Previous Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies Lecturer of the Year winners were:
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Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters grant for ReD Global
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